The Census Bureau has begun recruiting new hires as it prepares for the 2020 Census. The early recruitment efforts will play an essential role in the upcoming population count. The Census Bureau has stated that hiring is “tough when unemployment is low.”
The U.S. unemployment rate hit a 50-year low in September of 3.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.The current unemployment rate differs greatly from the recruitment period of 2010, where it floated between 9.3 and 9.8 percent. The recruitment period for the 2010 census saw one of the bureau’s largest applicant pools with 3.9 million job applications.
The Census Bureau has adjusted its recruitment efforts in light of the current job market. The current recruitment pitch includes excellent pay (competitive wages), flexible hours, paid training and temporary positions.
The pitch was designed to be widely appealing to those who would like additional income. Tim Olson, Census Bureau’s associate director for field operations, announced in September that the bureau will begin hiring non-citizens for language skills. As the number of non-English speakers in the U.S. population increases, there is a growing need for bilingual hires in order to produce accurate results.
The bureau has also begun reaching out to partnering organizations as well as secondary education institutions to advertise the job openings.
FAMU INFO sent out an email blast in October, citing the opportunity as “an excellent opportunity for students seeking part-time flexible employment.”
However, the Census Bureau failed to acknowledge the disconnect between minorities, millennials and lower income demographics and the U.S. Census.
According to a Pew Research Center study released in October, more than one-third of those who are age 18-29 said they “Might or might not, probably will not or definitely will not” participate in the 2020 Census. Additionally, 26 percent of blacks and 21 percent of Hispanics also had the same response, according to the survey. Twenty-four percent of those with a family income of less than $30,000 and 16 percent of those with an income ranging from $30,000-$74,000 gave similar answers.
While 98 percent of U.S. adults say that they have heard of the U.S. Census, Florida A&M student Christopher Washingon speculates that the unwillingness to participate in the Census is a result of lack of knowledge about what the Census does.
“Normally when we do get statistics back it’s usually demeaning to the black community in some way. Additionally, our community is not going to be as willing to participate in research due to past experiences and the history of blacks in our country have with studies.”
The bureau’s advertised hourly pay rate is enticing for some. The Census Bureau is currently advertising $14.05 an hour, which is $5.59 higher than Florida’s current minimum wage of $8.46.
FAMU student and Apple Care representative, Jamila Brown says she understands why students may be drawn to this job.
“College students want and in some cases need extra money, but it can be challenging to fits their school schedule,” the 21-year-old said.
The Census Bureau is expected to hire more than 500,000 temporary employees in preparation for 2020.
The hiring application is expected to remain open until February 2020. The bureau will begin training in March of 2020 and expect to begin work in late March or early April.
For more information or to find the application visit www.census.gov/jobs.